James Dale Reed, 42, appeared in Gettysburg two days after he left a handwritten letter on the doorstep of a Frederick residence threatening to “severely beat” Biden and rape Harris before executing both candidates on national television, prosecutors said during his detention hearing in federal court in Maryland. That day, Biden, then a Democratic candidate for president, delivered a speech from Gettysburg calling for national unity.
Prosecutors also said that authorities discovered a room in Reed’s house that “resembled a U.S. Military outpost bunker.” Investigators found an M4 rifle, a pistol, a shotgun and eight canisters of ammunition for the weapons, prosecutors said. Reed also had two grenades without blast caps, prosecutors said.
Authorities also uncovered documents that include conspiracies about former president Barack Obama and a hand-drawn map of the Frederick Police Department’s Special Response Team tactical responses, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors did not say whether they thought Reed intended to use the weapons but argued that he would be a danger to the community if released from custody.
During the Monday hearing, a federal judge ordered Reed detained until trial.
“Did you have weapons with you that day? I don’t know. Did you try to do something that day? I don’t know. But it’s particularly disturbing that right where [Biden] is two days after that threat, you are in the same place,” said U.S. District Judge Thomas M. DiGirolamo.
DiGirolamo also said it was “really serious” that Reed had “weapons to back up his threat.”
Reed’s defense attorney argued that the statements in the letter were “straight hyperbole” and that the letter delivered to a neighborhood resident did not constitute a true and direct threat to the now president and vice president.
There is no evidence directly connecting Reed’s time in Gettysburg to Biden’s presence in the area, his defense attorney said.
Reed has been held at the Maryland Transitional Center hospital to receive dialysis. He will be transferred to a Department of Corrections facility.
Reed was captured on a home-security camera delivering the letter about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 4 to a residence in Frederick that had signs supporting Biden and Harris in the yard, prosecutors said.
“We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs,” a letter included in the complaint said. “We are the ones with those scary guns.”
Reed was found guilty in state court of voter intimidation in connection with the letter. He was sentenced to time served and three years probation.